PSIR 556 | Course Introduction and Application Information

Course Name
Contemporary Issues in International Relations
Local Credits
PSIR 556

Course Language
Course Type
Course Level
Second Cycle
Course Coordinator -
Course Lecturer(s)
Course Objectives This course aims at providing graduate students with new perspectives on current issues and debates in the study of International Relations, and it also targets at enabling the students to analyze those issues using critical lenses.
Course Description The students who succeeded in this course;
  • The students successfully completing this course would be able to; Identify the principal current issues and debates in international relations,
  • Analyze those issues using objective and critical lenses;
  • Develop their own opinions, interpretations, perspectives regarding those issues,
  • Compare/contrast the perspectives, positions and policies of leading international actors with respect to those issues,
  • Make projections on future trends and challenges likely to be faced by international community in coming years.
Course Content The focus of the course would be some of the current issues and debates of international relations. The methodology of the course will be lecturer’s presentation and explanations intermingled with class discussion and students’ contributions.


Course Category

Core Courses
Major Area Courses
Supportive Courses
Media and Management Skills Courses
Transferable Skill Courses



Week Subjects Related Preparation
1 Introduction: Course objectives, content, methodology
2 Post-truth and Populism Tom Nichols, “How America Lost Faith in Expertise”, Foreign Affairs, 13 February 2017; Pankaj Mishra, “The Globalization of Rage”, Foreign Affairs, 17 October 2016; Kenneth Roth, “How to stand up for human rights in the age of Trump”, Foreign Policy, 18 January 2018; Ivan Kastrev, “What’s the Bigger Threat, Normalization or Alarmism?”, The New York Times, 3 December 2017; Christopher Walker, “The Meaning of Sharp Power”, Foreign Affairs, 16 November 2017; Akın Ünver, “Russia has won the Information War in Turkey”, Foreign Policy, 21 April 2019.
3 Debates on Liberalism Daniel Deudney and G. John Ikenberry, “Liberal World”, Foreign Affairs, 14 June 2018; Stephen Kotkin, “Realist World”, Foreign Affairs, 14 June 2018; Stephen M. Walt, “What Sort of World Are Headed for?”, Foreign Policy, 2 October 2018; Garaham Allison, “The Myth of the Liberal Order”, Foreign Affairs, 14 June 2018.
4 R2P Bruce Philbeam, “New wars, gloablisation and failed states” in Peter Hough (ed), International Security, 2014; Rachel Kleinfeld and Robert Muggah, “The State of War”, Foreign Policy, 18 March 2019; Severine Autesserre, “The Crisis of Peacekeeping”, Foreign Affairs, 11 December 2018.
5 Mass population movements Charles Kenny, “The Real Immigration Crisis”, Foreign Affairs, 11 November 2019; Bryan Caplan, “Open Borders Are a Trillion-Dollar Idea”, Foreign Policy, 1 November 2019; Ruben Andersson and David Keen, “The West’s Obsession With Border Security Is Breeding Instability”, Foreign Policy, 16 November 2019.
6 Cross-border crime Robert Muggah and John P. Sullivan, “The Coming Crime Wars”, Foreign Policy, 21 September 2018; Azam Ahmed, “Penetrating Every Stage of Afghan Opium Chain, Taliban Become a Cartel”, The New York Times, 16 February 2016; Peter Hough , “Crime and security” in Peter Hough (ed), International Security, 2014.
7 Terrorism Graeme Wood, “True Believers”, Foreign Affairs, 15 August 2017; Barbara F. Walter, “The Jihadist Threat Won’t End with ISIS’ Defeat”, Foreign Affairs, 22 December 2017; Robert Malley and Jon Finer, “The Long Shadow of 9/11”, Foreign Affairs, 14 June 2018; Peter Bergen and David Sterman, “The Real Terrorist Threat in America”, Foreign Affairs, 30 October 2018; H.A. Hellyer, “Where We Go Wrong in Comparing White Suremacy With ISIS”, Time, 21 March 2019; Jytte Klausen, “Jihadists Head Home”, Foreign Affairs, 6 June 2019.
8 Midterm exam
9 Irredentism Edoardo Campanella, “Europe, Fracturing From Within”, Foreign Affairs, 17 January 2017; Sebastian Balfour, “A Brief History of Catalan Nationalism”, Foreign Affairs, 18 October 2017; Joost Hilterman and Maria Fantappie, “Twilight of the Kurds”, Foreign Policy, January 2018; Tanisha M. Fazal, “Go Your Own Way”, Foreign Affairs, 14 June 2018; Robert Sapolsky, “This Is Your Brain on Nationalism”, Foreign Affairs, 12 February 2019.
10 Arms Control Ulrich Kühn, “Can We Still Regulate Emerging Technologies?”, Carnegie Valdai Club, 9 May 2019; Aaron J. Bonovitch, “START from the basics to maintain nuclear stability”, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, 30 January 2018; Andrew Moran, “Nuclear Proliferation” in Peter Hough (ed), International Security, 2014; Bruno Lété, “Europe Has No Attractive Options in the Post-INF World”, Defense One, 16 July 2019; Joelien Pretorius and Tom Sauer, “Is it time to ditch the NPT?”, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, 6 September 2019.
11 Middle East Vali Nasr, “”Iran Among the Ruins”, Foreign Affairs, 13 February 2018; Stephen M. Walt, “Good Riddance to America’s Syria Policy”, Foreign Policy, 21 December 2018; Jonathan Spyer, “Welcome to Syria 2.0”, Foreign Policy, 25 January 2018; Semih İdiz, “Animosity toward US uniting Turkey, Russia, Iran in Syria”, al-Monitor, 13 February 2018; Tarek Osman, “The Problem with Syria’s Demographics”, Foreign Affairs, 27 July 2017.
12 Global leadership Walter Russel Mead and Sean Keeley, “The Eight Great Powers of 2017”, American Interest, 24 January 2017; Robert Kagan, “Backing Into World War III”, Foreign Policy, 6 February 2017; Stewart M. Patrick, “Trump and the World Order”, Foreign Affairs, 13 February 2017; Richard Haass, “How a World Order Ends”, Foreign Affairs, 11 December 2018; Odd Ame Westad, “The Sources of Chinese Conduct”, Foreign Affairs, 12 August 2019; Fareed Zakaria, “The New China Scare”, Foreign Affairs, 6 December 2019.
13 Environmental issues Peter Hough, “Environmental Security” in Peter Hough (ed), International Security, 2014; Matteo Fagotto, “West Africa Is Being Swallowed by the Sea”, Foreign Policy, 21 October 2016; Joshua Busby, “Warming World”, Foreign Affairs, 14 June 2018; Joseph Curtin, “Trump has officially ruined climate change diplomacy for everyone”, Foreign Policy, 12 December 2018; Adam Tooze, “Rising Tides Will Sink Global Order”, Foreign Policy, 20 December 2018; Amitav Ghosh, “The coming climate crisis”, Foreign Policy, January 2019; Stephen Walt, “Who Will Save the Amazon (and How)?”, Foreign Policy, 5 August 2019; Lisa Visicidi and Nate Graham, “Threats Worked in Brazil”, Foreign Policy, 4 September 2019.
14 Science and Technology Studies Stephen M. Walt, “What Will 2050 Look Like?”, Foreign Policy, 12 May 2015; Stewart Patrick and Kyle L. Evanoff, “The Right Way to Achieve Security in Space”, Foreign Affairs, 17 September 2018; Loren Thompson, “Gene Wars”, Forbes, 29 January 2016; Frans von der Dunk, “So who really owns the Moon?”, Military Times, 9 July 2019; Doug Beason, “Directed Energy: The Next Revolution”, The Cipher Brief, 22 December 2016; Matthew Shaer, “The Asteroid Miner’s Guide to the Galaxy”, Foreign Policy, 28 April 2016.
15 Review of the semester
16 Final Exam


Course Notes/Textbooks

This course does not have specific course book.

Suggested Readings/Materials

This course does not have specific book. Instead, there will be large number of weekly reading assignments comprising articles, manuscripts, reports and news stories drawn from a large variety of books, journals, periodicals, magazines and newspapers. Assigned readings for each lecture would be available on the course’s Blackboard page a week or two in advance.



Semester Activities Number Weigthing
Laboratory / Application
Field Work
Quizzes / Studio Critiques
Homework / Assignments
Presentation / Jury
Seminar / Workshop
Oral Exams
Final Exam

Weighting of Semester Activities on the Final Grade
Weighting of End-of-Semester Activities on the Final Grade


Semester Activities Number Duration (Hours) Workload
Theoretical Course Hours
(Including exam week: 16 x total hours)
Laboratory / Application Hours
(Including exam week: 16 x total hours)
Study Hours Out of Class
Field Work
Quizzes / Studio Critiques
Homework / Assignments
Presentation / Jury
Seminar / Workshop
Oral Exam
Final Exam



Program Competencies/Outcomes
* Contribution Level
1 To improve theoretical and conceptual proficiencies on Political Science and International Relations and to ultimately deepen and develop intellectual interest X
2 To evaluate the relationships between factors in the field of Political Science and International Relations such as structures, actors, institutions and culture in a critical perspective  X
3 To provide advanced competences to determine and question the theoretical and emprical gaps in Political Science and International Relations literature  X
4 To identify the political and cultual conditions that generate discrimination mechanisms based on race, ethnic groups, gender and religion at national and international levels  X
5 To provide competences to develop original arguments in order to fill the gaps in Political Science and International Relations literature X
6 To determine, collect, resolve, and interpret the data that would measure the theories and concepts as variables by using scientific research methods in Political Science and International Relations field X
7 To use confidently the terms and concepts of Political Science and International Relations  X
8 To communicate systematically, in written, oral, and visual forms, contemporary developments in Political Science and International Relations to groups inside and outside the said discipline  X
9 To take responsibility in an individual capacity and as part of a team in generating solutions to unexpected problems that arise in relation to politics in daily life  X
10 To develop projects determining the institutional and political instruments for management of domestic and international conflicts  X
11 To prepare an orginal thesis/term project about Political Science and International Relations in accordance with scentific criteria  X
12 To design and carry out a scientific research project in the field of Political Science and International Relations  X
13 To have ethical, social and scientific values in the stages throughout the processes of collecting, interpreting, disseminating and implementing data relevant to Political Science and International Relations  X

*1 Lowest, 2 Low, 3 Average, 4 High, 5 Highest